USTA hosts “listening session” on Junior Competition

November 24, 2012 03:27 PM
On Saturday, Nov. 24, a contingent from the USTA, led by incoming president Dave Haggerty and Chief Executive, Community Tennis Kurt Kamperman, conducted the second in an ongoing series of "listening sessions" that the association is hosting in regard to the proposed changes in Junior Competition structure, slated to take effect in 2014.
The session, attended by some 30 parents, coaches and teaching pros from six of the USTA’s 17 sections, was held at the Fitness and Tennis Center of Rocky Hill (Conn.), during the boys’ and girls’ 14-and-under National Open.

"We are here for one reason," said Haggerty as he addressed the attendees at the start of the session. "And that is to listen and to learn. If you have concerns, if you have questions, we want to hear them, because it is only through this kind of give-and-take that we will be able to develop the best and most successful competitive structure."

Many of those in attendance were not fully aware of the specifics of the proposed changes, which are designed to make the sport more affordable, accessible and available to a more diverse player base. Parents and coaches did voice concerns over any reduction in the number of national competitive play opportunities and suggested that any reduction might hamper the development of young players and derail their chances of one day playing at the collegiate level.

"These parents and their children are key stakeholders in our competitive structure—and in the future of our sport," said Haggerty.
To that end, the USTA will be conducting several more of these listening sessions at a variety of locations throughout the country in the coming months. The next scheduled session is slated for Sunday, Dec. 16, at the ITA Coaches Convention in Naples, Fla. Additionally, anyone with opinions or concerns on this issue is encouraged to voice them at
"We want to get this right," said Haggerty. "And by listening and learning--we will."
Listening session schedule:

Nov. 24: Boys & Girls 14s National Open, Rocky Hill, Conn.
Dec. 16: ITA Convention (for convention attendees only), Naples, Fla.
Dec. 26: 16s & 18s Winter Nationals, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Dec. 27: 12s & 14s Winter Nationals, Tucson
Jan. 10-13: Southern Section annual meeting, Atlanta
Feb. 15-17: Texas Section annual meeting, Grapevine, Texas